- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- ½ garlic bulb, root end
- 1 fennel bulb
- 2 apples
- 600g pig cheeks (2 packs)
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 10 sage leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 330ml Red Kite Black Isle ale
- 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 250ml chicken stock
- ½ - 1 tbsp honey (to taste)
1. Preheat the oven to 150°C.
2. Peel and finely chop the onion and carrot. Halve the garlic bulb through its equator.
3. Halve the fennel and thinly slice it. Peel and core the apples. Cut each in to 8 slices.
4. Heat a medium sized heavy based casserole dish. Rub 1 tbsp oil in to the pigs cheeks.
5. Carefully place them into the hot pan. Cook for 4 mins on each side till lightly browned. Lift out on to a plate.
6. Add the fennel slices to the pan. Place one half of the garlic bulb (the root end) cut side down. Keep the other garlic half for another recipe. Cook for 3-5 mins till golden and slightly caramelised. Remove from the pan and place onto the plate with the pig’s cheeks.
7. Add the onion and carrot. Cook on a gentle heat for 5 mins till softened. Add the apples, sage leaves and bay leaves. Cook for a couple of mins. Add the pig’s cheeks, fennel and garlic.
8. Pour in the beer. Spoon in the mustard. Bring to a bubble then add the chicken stock. Bring everything to a gentle simmer. Pop on a lid. Slide into the oven for 2 ½ hours. The pig’s cheeks will be meltingly tender.
9. Remove the pigs cheeks and any apples that haven’t disintegrated. Cover with foil to rest.
10. Place the pan on a medium heat and reduce the cooking liquor by half. This could take about half an hour. Taste and season. Add ½-1 tbsp honey.
11. Pop the pig’s cheeks back into the pan and warm through for 15 mins.
12. Serve the pig’s cheeks on to of creamy celeriac mash, buttered greens and a dollop of mustard. Spoon over the flavourful beer, apple & mustard gravy.